The poll’s not out yet so it’s red-fonted halfway down the page. When it does come out, it should get the siren.
Giuliani’s been hoping Huck would break from the second tier, end Mitt’s candidacy by upsetting him in Iowa, and clear the way for Team Rudy to roll up Florida on January 29th. How’s that working out?
RASMUSSEN Florida Primary polling data showing Rudy lost lead; now its Huckabee, Romney on top: Huckabee 27% Romney 23% Giuliani 19%… Developing…
The last Rasmussen Florida poll on November 18 showed Rudy 27, Mitt 19, Fred 16, McCain 10, Huck 9. Eighteen points gained in a month, kids. And at the risk of repeating myself, it’s all been done with no money and no endorsement more significant than Chuck Norris’s. Although that may be changing: Ed Rollins, Reagan’s national campaign director in 1984, just signed as Huck’s new national campaign manager, and remember, he may or may not have a big foreign-policy endorsement coming down the pike today.
Assuming the new poll isn’t a wild outlier, Huck’s big gains likely came within the last 10 days or so: The last poll taken of the state, between December 2 and 4 by Survey USA, showed Rudy up by 14. Note that Mitt’s also gained, which really kills Rudy’s state strategy. He was counting on Florida to favor the moderate; now he’s got two social cons in the lead. Whoever emerges from the Mitt/Huck semifinal is now positioned to inherit a lot of votes from the other and end up leading big. How does Giuliani turn this around, short of abandoning his campaigning elsewhere and pouring everything he’s got left into the state?
The better Huck does, the more morbidly intrigued I am by how this is going to shake out within the party after the election. Lowry thinks we’re bound to be slaughtered in the general with Huckabee as the nominee, for which there’ll naturally be plenty of recriminations against social cons afterwards, but what if he wins and we end up with a religious liberal as president whom Christians can tolerate just fine and the rest of us can’t? You’re looking at massive political reorientations in that case, as non-religious conservatives ask themselves the vaguely sinister question Peggy Noonan asks this morning: Would Ronald Reagan be insufficiently pious for today’s GOP?
Update: Lots of buzz for this piece by Quin Hillyer, although it seems like wishful thinking to me. If Fred ain’t dead, he’d better a-crawl up outta that coffin right quick-like. Because Huck’s up seven in his must-have state, too.
Update: Here’s the poll. Good news for Rudy: He’s in the lead as second choice. Bad news: Among voters who say religion isn’t important at all, he actually trails Mitt by six points.